Hall of fame rock legend Gregg Allman’s life has become somewhat mythological in the world of hard-playing musicians battling addiction demons. He talks about them at great length in his book “My Cross To Bear”.
The story for Allman begins in Florida, after reuniting with his rocker family and the creation of the Allman Brothers Band. The group immediately began touring and that’s when Allman first found himself using hard drugs to cope with the pressures of road-traveling music.
“We formed in Spring of ‘’69 and in 1970 we had worked 300 nights. We worked really hard. And somebody came along with some drugs, you know?” says Allman in his Steppin’ Out interview. “They just put you right where you wanted to be. You want to sleep? Fine. You want to get up? Fine. That’s rat race there. They didn’t tell us what it was.”
He would learn later that it was heroin.
“We’d just do it every now and then. It takes a while. I guess, I did it about 25 times. I woke up one morning and something was not right. It hit me I was addicted.”
His wake-up call wouldn’t come for years. It finally happened the day after The Allman Brothers were inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Allman infamously tried to make an acceptance speech apparently intoxicated.
“I saw it the next day. That was it. That’s where I bottomed out.”
From there, Allman would take eight years to get clean. It eventually happened. But, Allman admits being famous and famously in recovery is not easy. The temptations abound. And unlike regular people, anonymity is impossible. It’s so difficult, in fact, that regular twelve-step meetings are more harmful than helpful.
“For celebrities, it’s a little more difficult, admits Allman. “They have closed male or male-and-female musician meetings.”